I met a woman recently and, as conversation does, talk went to what we do and questions about my weird interesting job and what it entails. I told her that my background is marketing and so (since Wayne has taken over much of the operations & shipping), a lot of my work time with dignify is spent doing marketing types of things.
“Oh, yeah, I get it. Trying to convince people who wouldn’t want it to buy your stuff. I have a relative who breeds dogs and she works so hard trying to find and convince people to buy her dogs.”
That's not, how you say, how we do things around here.
I do understand why that might be a perspective on sales & marketing. There is such a range of attitudes and priorities in retail, and I certainly have seen behind the curtain amongst e-commerce sellers. They are called to promote urgency with timers and countdowns and “Act now, or else you’ll miss out!” kinds of “calls-to-action”. Sales and discounts and psychological pricing tactics are all meant to encourage customers to think less and act faster; they depend on the apathy that usually overrules buyer’s remorse.
There is a range, for sure, of the priorities, tactics, and attitudes of a marketer, but like most things, there is nothing inherently villainous about it!
As for me, I see my role in a completely different light than the gal I chatted to that morning.
Am I trying to falsely create a demand for $60-$300 blankets among people who don’t need or want them, or shouldn’t wisely spend their money on them? NO!
Rather, I see a great product that people have been delighted by, that provides a good employment opportunity for women who need it. I see people who are looking for wedding gifts that will surprise and delight and be cherished. I see friends and grandmas looking for a baby gift that will stand out from the crowd and impart some meaning to the gift recipient. I see women who want to bring art and beauty and texture into their homes or to those of the people they love.
My goal, as a business owner and as a marketer, is to find more of the people who are looking for exactly what we have, even if they’ve never before heard of “kantha”. To connect our product, which we are proud of and confident in, with the ones who will feel the same way.
To use the dog example from my conversation above: shouldn’t it simply be about matching the right dog lovers with the perfect dog for them? Isn’t it just a bad idea to “convince” someone to buy a dog, only for them to regret it later or struggle through the experience? Sure, you may get the money in your pocket, but at what cost? And to what benefit?
Don’t doubt that I will very vocally sing the praises of our kantha blankets. I will tell you about them, show you gorgeous pictures, write you emails when new collections arrive, and encourage you to buy them as Christmas gifts. Frankly, I think they are amazing!! If I didn't believe that, I am working on the wrong project.
Over the next two months, you will be inundated with marketing messages. If you interact with your surrounding, North American culture in ANY WAY on a daily basis... sales & marketing will be, almost literally, everywhere. If you browse our website, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or if you are on our Shop Good mailing list, this absolutely includes me!
I may sound like a broken record, but pay attention to the messages you are taking in, and be discerning! It is such a frantic season of shopping, but we don’t have to be swept up in it. I am the only one in charge of my wallet, and I’m not forking it over to just anyone.
Is XYZ brand trying to sell to me, or serve me? Am I being manipulated, or appreciated?
You’ll hear from me a lot in the coming months, but I hope that it is clear that the way I feel about our customers & community is most definitely the latter. If it doesn’t feel that way to you, don’t worry: I was offended by the low opinion of me by the woman in that conversation, but I won’t be offended by your unfollow. :)
For more thoughts on shopping smarter, spending better, and learning about some behind-the-scenes tactics used to get you buying, click to download our free guide to no buyer’s remorse.
Dignify’s origin story has long been included, in brief, on our about page, and I refer to it whenever I’ve done interviews or podcasts or if I meet someone in person who inevitably asks, how did you get into this?
I'd like to share a bit of a wider panorama of the story, and an update. I have heard some tremendous stories from customers about the meaning that their blanket has had in some aspect of their life or a relationship. I'm so inspired, I would like to share more of mine, too. The story of dignify is very intertwined with my friend, Kathy.
I've taken a Halloween approach (thus far) that is almost entirely of a free-for-all. As in: Go trick-or-treating, have fun, eat candy, keep it in your room, go wild... and usually by two weeks in, it's all gone, forgotten, or lost its lustre. This week, though, our three kids brought over 1200 candies & chips back into our house (!!!). It was, to understate things... a bit much.
When you find yourself with an abundance of junk food, the idea of throwing it away feels inconceivable (at least for me). Maybe it is that candy is non-perishable, and there is a sense that throwing something edible in the garbage is abhorrently wasteful?
A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year: —